Economic Freedom Fighters have reiterated their plan on fighting crimes and gangsterism as they kickoff election campaign.
The EFF launched an anti-crime and gangs campaign this weekend as part of its electioneering plans.
Nazier Paulsen, a member of the party’s central command team or national executive committee, joined Ravensmead residents on Sunday as part of the campaign.
“Communities in distress will be at the forefront of the EFF’s election campaign. These anti-crime marches will be taking place across communities.
“We are adding our voice to communities that have expressed their dismay at conditions that lead to gangsterism and crime,” said Paulsen.
The EFF’s first anti-crime march as part of this campaign was in Strandfontein on Friday.
Paulsen said: “Party members and residents marched to the local police station where they raised their concerns about crime.
Strandfontein branch members were doing door-to-door recruitment (for the party) and most of the demands of people in the area were to address the rising scourge of drugs and gangs in their community. For us, it’s about looking at synergies. We are looking at coming up with collective strategies.”
But Paulsen added that they would not be marching to the homes of alleged drug dealers. “We can’t endanger the lives of people. If we move on drug dealers they could come after people who were marching against them. Crime and gangs is a common issue. It has been around for very long and very little gets done to address the structural issues and the systemic causes in communities,” Paulsen added.
“Visible policing would assist but a long-term solution is to address issues that contribute to gangsterism. We are looking at it holistically. We want to develop the critical thinking of young people.”
The DA has also started its campaign for votes, using crime and gangsterism as an entry point on the Cape Flats.
Party leader Mmusi Maimane addressed a rally in Bonteheuwel on Saturday. It focused on crime and on how to “keep our communities safe”.
Paulsen dismissed this as “reactionary”.
“They are jumping on a bandwagon that the EFF started. They are superficial. You can’t police gangs and drugs away without addressing the systemic issues, and they have not done that,” said Paulsen.
This month the EFF planned to finalise its nominees for provincial and national lists.
The party would meet at the Birchwood Hotel in Joburg on January 19 and 20 to finalise them.
Paulsen was viewed as a premier candidate for the Western Cape.
“I serve a democratic organisation and it’s the member’s choice if they want me for that position,” he said.